Puzzle Quest’s smashing success sparked the match three RPG genre and Puzzle & Dragons from GungHo Online Entertainment adds the addictive element of raising monsters. Comparatively, Puzzle & Dragons is easier to play. You don’t have to manage mana or worry about the computer snagging skulls. Match three green orbs and all of the green monsters in your party attack. Enemies patiently wait until the turn number over their head reaches zero to strike back.
Puzzle & Dragons has a rock-paper-scissors system where water quenches fire, fire ignites wind, and wind cuts through ice. Light and dark elements oppose it each other. You can bring five of your monsters into a dungeon. I started out with a balanced party with one monster of each element. The advantage with this team is you always land an attack if you match three orbs. However, you might want to gamble with an all blue monster party for the Dungeon of Fire. This group can take down red enemies with ease, but you have to hope blue gems will pop up.
There are different types of monsters in Puzzle & Dragons too. Carbuncles have a skill that restores HP without taking a turn and Titans can change all of the healing orbs into a certain color like red. Your reward for clearing a dungeon is a new monster, probably a handful of new monsters. The game has a fusion system, but it’s really a "feeding" system since you can level up or evolve one monster by fusing up to five weak ones into it.
Whether it’s creating the ultimate dragon or clearing another dungeon there is always something to do in Puzzle & Dragons. Well, as long as you have stamina. Entering a dungeon drains some stamina and when you run out your dragon is too tired to go on a quest. It takes ten minutes of real time to recover one point of stamina, but you can get right back into the game by using a magic stone to instantly refill your stamina meter. Magic stones, of course, cost real world money. That’s probably a good thing for me otherwise I wouldn’t get anything done and (shhh…) if you really want to get back in the game just change your device’s clock. If you buy them, magic stones are better spent pulling a dragon’s paw to get a rare monster or expanding the size of your monster box. Puzzle & Dragons is a freemium game, but there’s plenty to do without spending a dime.